Sunday, September 18, 2005

Religion as a game

Religion has been using the psychology behind online social games for centuries. Here’s one example. When you die and go to heaven in particular Buddhist sects in Japan, the priest gives the deceased a new name in an elaborate ceremony. Naturally, the family pays the priest for his time.

Highly respected people get longer names. However, if you haven’t devoted much of your life to being respectable, the family can pay the priest a little money on the side to purchase extra characters on your new name. This all gets me thinking: the afterlife is the original virtual world and avatar-based businesses are older than I first imagined.

What other elements of online game design have you seen in your favorite religions?
(and yes, this is an attempt at having at least one short post this month. ;-)